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Data sharing across borders

CLOUD Act & its benefits to India – Data sharing across borders 

Relevancy

ü  G.S. Paper 2,3

ü  Significance of CLOUD Act (Data sharing across borders )

ü  Present condition and way forward

Recently:

  • Two weeks ago, U.S. President Donald Trump signed the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act (CLOUD Act).

What is the significance of CLOUD Act?

  • This law will enable the U.S. government to enter into agreements with like-minded states for cross-border data sharing.
  • It will allow law enforcement agencies from these states to directly obtain electronic data, held by communication service providers headquartered in the U.S., to combat crime.
  • New Delhi will soon push for an India-U.S. data sharing agreement to serve the interests of its law enforcement.
  • Most importantly it will make headway in the global cyber norms conversation.
  • Thus data protected in the US servers can now be used by Indian authorities.

Why the data is rendered inaccessible?

  1. Data is broken into pieces:

Popular service providers increasingly store electronic communications in the cloud, breaking the data into “shards” and distributing the data across different countries.

  1. Companies do not store data locally:

While these companies offer services in India, they do not store the data locally.

  1. No law to grant access to foreign law enforcement agencies:

The current U.S. law prohibits service providers from disclosing user data to foreign law enforcement agencies.

What is the present condition?

  • The request from Indian law enforcement to American service providers have been on a steady rise.
  • Moreover, an Indian law enforcement official needs to access the information of users online conversation for investigation.
  • The police needs this information not only for traditional crimes with a cyber element, but also for more complex, transnational investigations.
  • Cross-border crimes such as cases of online radicalization would require agents to access data that are stored abroad.

What is the future like?

  • With the enactment of the CLOUD Act, an Indian officer for the purposes of an investigation will no longer have to make a request to the U.S. government but can approach the company directly.
  • However, to operationalize the new data sharing arrangement through a bilateral agreement, the U.S. establishment has introduced an important caveat.
  • The U.S. requires the foreign states to share a common commitment to the rule of law and the protection of privacy and other civil liberties.
  • India would be considered to satisfy these requirements based on a determination by the U.S. Attorney General.

What is the way forward?

  • India needs to ensure its authorities to collect, retain, use and share data as per an established procedure.
  • In addition, Indian laws must provide for electronic data requests to be reviewed by a court or other independent authority.
  • As of now, India falls short of these requirements.
  • However, with the government looking to legislate on a new data protection law, this can soon change.

Data sharing across borders – Data sharing across borders  – Data sharing across borders  – Data sharing across borders

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